Walk 9 – Bahrija to Golden Bay
Great excitement about this walk. Firstly because it’s supposed to be one of the best coastal walks in Malta. It passes three beautiful sandy beaches – Gneyna (popular with local Maltese), Ghajn Taffieha (the hipster beach) and Golden Bay (the busiest and biggest of the three that is very popular with tourists). I know and love all three beaches and I’ve been to them all many times.
I was also excited about this walk though because I had a walking companion – one with two legs and a car, not just four fluffy legs.
Sarah – running partner extraordinaire – was joining me and this made life much easier in terms of transport as we could take two cars and leave one at the end of the walk. But also how lovely to have someone to walk and talk with (and get lost with). We choose a great day to go because the weather was AMAZING (for February).
We both drove to Golden bay, left my car there, hopped in Sarah’s car and drove off to the start of the walk which was in a village called Bahrija which turned out to be a very random tiny place in the middle of nowhere. First of all we couldn’t find the starting point. The guide book said to start “in the village square” but it wasn’t obvious where that was. So instead we started at a church – the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception (also known as il-Kuncizzjoni) – which was about a km into the walk.
Then on my instruction, we started walking in totally the wrong direction across some farmland that soon became unpassable. By this time Sarah was no doubt re-evaluating her new walking partner. So we backtracked and Sarah took charge of the guide book and managed to locate the right path. Hurrah! But after 10 minutes I remembered I’d left my car keys in her car. Durrrhhhh. So back to the start for the second time.
FINALLY, we were on our way and once we started on the right path (with the keys) all was good. It was an amazing start as the path quickly opened up to reveal stunning views of the coast and Gnejna and Ghajn Taffieha beaches in the distance. We could also see and part of the walls of the Victoria Lines. The Victoria Lines were built in the late 19th century to defend the country against invaders and they and run across Malta from west to east. And yes I am going to be walking along them one day soon.
We walked along the Victoria Lines for a while and then along the top of a beautiful bay with clear blue waters called Fomm ir-Rih Bay. We literally couldn’t stop saying to each other “wow – this is amazing”. What a fantastic view and for a change a great walking path rather than a road which meant Taco could stay off her lead. Particularly luckily as I’d left Taco’s lead in my car back at Golden Bay and so Sarah had had to fashion her one from her son’s shoelaces which wasn’t really up to the job!
The path led us right down onto Gnejna beach. I’ve been to Gnejna beach many times but I’ve never seen it empty and I’ve never approached it from this direction.
Sarah had been doing a great job of map reading with the book but I told her to put it away because I knew the way from here having walked the next section before. So on my instructions (uh oh), we started the steep climb from Gneyna towards the top of the cliff above the beach. But then we kind of went off that path and followed an easier more appealing path that veered off around the side of the cliff. Mistake!!! It just meant that on the other side we were faced with some seriously sharp inclines that we had to conquer.
Off we went – almost rock climbing! Taco had jumped in a horrible sticky mud pool so she was basically sticking to the rock whilst Sarah and I could barely look down. Finally, after a few wrong paths (yep I was leading the way) we made it to the top just above Ghajn Taffieha beach. Phew! What a glorious view. It was worth the anxious climb and detour (i think).
It was then a relatively easy stroll along the top ridge heading to the car park at Ghajn Taffieha. From there we followed the path around the coast which drops down to the ever-popular (even in February) Golden Bay. I dragged my very muddy dog into the sea (by her shoelace lead) and tried to give her a bit of a bath. Great place to end the walk as we treated ourself to coffee and a sandwich in Munchies in the sun. We then hopped in my car and drove back to the start to pick up Sarah’s car. The joy of not having to rely on taxis – especially with that dirty wet dog.
Here’s the route we did. According to the book, it was 10km although our reading here is 6.38km. We did miss out a km or so at the beginning but not sure where the other kms got lost – probably the rockclimbing de-tour.